Pets archive

The jemjabella household is a bit of a zoo, covering several different species: from pedigree cats to exotic spiders. While a hundred (exaggeration) pets might not be everyone's idea of fun, and there's no shortage of cleaning duties to be had, there's always something furry looking for a cuddle and a fuss.

How to care for 11 animals and not go crazy

After Stephanie asked how we manage all the animals with everything else we’ve got on, and we recently doubled our guinea pig population, I thought it was probably a good time to write about how the hell we care for all these animals without going crazy.

We have a routine

Back when we only had a few pets we’d clean them out when it seemed like a good idea, scoop poop when we remembered etc. It’s not good – so easy to accidentally miss a scooping and wake up to cat shit all over your floor because the highly clean moggies have got peed off at the poop mound in the corner of their tray. These days we have a specific daily routine:

DAILY AM:
– Karl feeds cats & scoops poop while I’m sorting the children’s breakfast
– After Karl has gone to work & Izz to nursery (when applicable) I go outside to check on the bunnies & piggies, top up hay and do any necessary spot-cleans of hutches and trays. If I’m going to be at home all day I let the rabbits out too.

DAILY PM:
– After the kids have gone to bed it’s fresh veg prep for the bunnies & piggies, another round of spot-cleans on hutches and trays (the rabbits are “litter” trained), fresh hay & water all round etc
– Once the outdoor animals are sorted it’s another round of cat food & poop scooping indoors

WEEKLY:
– Litter trays are emptied & scrubbed
– Hutches are emptied & scrubbed
– Water bowls and bottles are scrubbed

We keep on top of cleaning

See above: spot-cleans on hutches etc. It seems like it takes up a lot of time when you explain it, but when you do it twice a day it helps stop poop mounds building up and spreading. It takes a few minutes and is much more hygienic for the animals.

We work together

I sort food bowls while Karl sweeps or vice versa. I sort the kids while Karl sorts the cats. And so on… it’s all about team work. Although the division of labour in this house is definitely not 50/50, it’s certainly heading that way. I absolutely cannot abide the notion that women should be the ones doing all the housework and that applies to animal/pet related chores too. (Don’t get me started!)

We avoid ‘messy’ products

Last but not least, we try and avoid products that make our lives harder. For example, we use a great clumping litter which is a little pricier than most but means that we can scoop a pee out of the tray leaving just clean litter behind (and it doesn’t flick about the place as much as some litters).

For the outdoor animals, we’ve recently switched to ‘vet bed’ instead of woodshavings. Now we can sweep out the pigpig poos using a dustpan and brush, wee is absorbed through to an under layer of paper based litter and the guinea pigs stay clean and tray (same principle for the rabbit litter tray). It turns out that woodshavings are associated with respiratory issues too, so this was a good decision all round.

All that said, it really is just a case of getting off your arse and getting on with it. Actual pet-maintenance doesn’t take more than an hour a day which leaves lots more for cuddling the little furry buggers. :D


Old MacDonald had a farm

…and so do we, or it’s beginning to look a lot like that anyway! On Friday last week we trekked 40 minutes across the county to visit, and ultimately bring home, a pair of guinea pigs from Piggy Kingdom, a local(ish) guinea pig rescue. The grand plan was that we’d bring the pair of baby… read full entry »


13 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Bunnies

With having had to source a mate for Flymo this year we had to research into how to introduce a second rabbit. It’s not as simple as sticking rabbit #2 in the hutch and letting them get on with things; each rabbit is different and a gradual bonding process works best. Anyway, in doing this… read full entry »


The Woman With 40 Cats

Karl and I have just watched The Woman With 40 Cats on catch-up TV and joked at length how that could easily be me. Not 5 minutes later, we’re discussing ways to increase the capacity for guinea pigs in the garden and he suggests the potential for re-using Flymo’s old hutch for more piggies. And… read full entry »


I want chickens

If you’ve ever read my about page you’ll know that I would quite like to keep chickens. Part of it is because I just have this thing about animals but mostly it’s because we spend an absolute fortune on eggs. I eat them in cakes & mayonnaise, Isabel can eat 3-4 hardboiled eggs in one… read full entry »


The Animal Shed

We recently bought two sheds: a 6×4″ for the tools and general garden crap, and an 8×6″ for the animal hutches. Or that was the general plan anyway. After battling for an entire weekend to get the 8×6″ up (due to a combination of location, size and having to build it around 2 ‘helpful’ small… read full entry »


Meet Rosie

Well, that was quick. I know, I know, just a few days ago discussing a rescue rabbit and yet here we are with a bunny. She’s not a “rescue” bunny, as such. But we have rescued her in as such that her future was uncertain, as she was being offered ‘free to good home’ on… read full entry »


A bunny friend

It’s a fact that the vast majority of rabbits do better with a friend. From what I gather it’s because in the wild they live in large groups, and are very sociable with other bunnies. They like to groom each other, play, cuddle up to keep warm etc. All fairly typical stuff and something Flymo… read full entry »


Cat run & the all weather drying solution

Last year we built a cat run. The original plan was to have one built for us by a guy who specialises in bespoke wooden runs but after 2 visits he went quiet and despite numerous calls and emails we’ve never heard anything back. Anyway, we did some searching and found some metal run panels… read full entry »

Small Furry Disaster

Anyone got any recipes for rabbit stew? Someone’s been a very bad rabbit. After moving the rabbit and guinea pig hutches up to the gap at the back of the top lawn (I know this means nothing to you unless you’ve seen my garden) last month, we’ve been able to give Flymo access to the… read full entry »

Mewp

I can’t decide if Crumble is one of the stupidest cats I’ve ever owned, or one of the smartest… acting like an idiot to gain sympathy for being so simple.